User:Kaldari/NPG email

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Email I sent to the National Portrait Gallery in 2006:

Subject: image copyright complaint
Date: Wed, 25 Oct 2006 10:39:20 -0500
From: Ryan Kaldari
To: picturelibrary@npg.org.uk

To whom it may concern: I am an editor and administrator for the online encyclopedia, Wikipedia. Recently we received an anonymous complaint that an image of Mary Wollstonecraft currently used on Wikipedia is in violation of NPG copyrights. The complaint was regarding the following image: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Image:Marywollstonecraft.jpg

The complaint was as follows: "THIS IMAGE IS BEING USED WITHOUT PERMISSION FROM THE COPYRIGHT HOLDER. This image is copyright material and must not be reproduced in any way without permission of the copyright holder. Under current UK copyright law, there is copyright in skilfully executed photographs of ex-copyright works, such as this painting of Mary Wollstonecraft. The original painting belongs to the National Portrait Gallery, London. For copies, and permission to reproduce the image, please contact the Gallery at picturelibrary@npg.org.uk or via our website at www.npg.org.uk"

I went to the NPG website to see if the image had in fact been pulled from NPG without permission. The only image of this portrait I was able to find was http://images.npg.org.uk/OCimg/weblg/0/3/mw02603.jpg which is certainly not the same photograph as the one we are using. I was not able to find any evidence that the copyright for the photograph we are using belongs to the NPG. However, we have not yet been able to determine who took the photograph and thus who the copyright may belong to. The image was uploaded by an editor in the Netherlands whom I have sent an inquiry to. If the original source for the photograph cannot be determined, it is likely we will remove the image from Wikipedia. If you have evidence that the photograph was taken by the NPG, please let me know. Thanks for your time and attention.


Reply from the National Portrait Gallery:

Subject: RE: image copyright complaint
Date: Wed, 25 Oct 2006 09:14:24 -0700 (PDT)
From: Matthew Bailey
To: Ryan Kaldari
Cc: Bernard Horrocks, Tom Morgan

Dear Ryan,

Thank you very much for your swift response. Although the image was not taken from our website, it is possible that it came from another source for which we supplied the original image (for example, a book). In any case, I look forward to hearing from you once you have contacted the editor of the article.

Regards,

Matthew


My reply:

Subject: RE: image copyright complaint
Date: Wed, 25 Oct 2006 14:36:30 -0500
From: Ryan Kaldari
To: Matthew Bailey
Cc: Bernard Horrocks, Tom Morgan

Hi Matthew, Thanks for the reply. It looks like you (or someone else at the Gallery) has posted copyright violation notices for several other images on Wikipedia (besides the one of Wollstonecraft we have already discussed). If you can demonstrate that any of those images were taken from the NPG website, I will be happy to delete them immediately. We try to be as diligent as possible about copyright issues, but of course it is a difficult and complex task. If you can send me a list of images you suspect may be in violation, I will post notices requiring source information for all of them. If no source information is forthcoming, the images will probably be removed from Wikipedia. Unfortunately, the copyright status of such images (assuming they were photographed by NPG) is still something of a gray area for us. Our copyright policies do not specifically address this issue, so there is still debate on how to handle it. Please be patient with us and we will do our best to make sure everything is properly resolved regarding the use of these images. Perhaps at some point we could send a representative to the Gallery to meet with you. Do you allow public photography of the paintings? Would the gallery have any interest in supplying Wikipedia with unique images of the paintings for use on Wikipedia?

Sincerely, Ryan Kaldari


Reply from the National Portrait Gallery:

Subject: RE: image copyright complaint
Date: Thu, 26 Oct 2006 13:22:20 +0100
From: Matthew Bailey
To: Ryan Kaldari
Cc: Bernard Horrocks, Tom Morgan


Hello Ryan,

Thank you for your reply, and for your willingness to engage in sensible discussions about this issue. I have posted a few copyright notices on Wikipedia pages, including those with images of William Shakespeare and The Brontë Sisters. There are most likely many more NPG images on the site, although it will take some time to track them down.

I am aware that there is often confusion regarding copyright law, but you are welcome to include the following text on Wikipedia, which explains our position and gives a good overview of the issues involved:


Under current UK law (26 October 2006), a skilfully taken photograph of an ex-copyright painting still enjoys copyright protection.

The Bridgeman case (Bridgeman v Corel, 97 Civ. 6232 (LAK), New York Southern District Court, United States), is often cited in challenge to this. The judgement was that there can be no copyright in photographs of two-dimensional ex-copyright works.

However, this judgement is NOT binding in the UK or in other jurisdictions and, and in many people's opinion, is of doubtful authority even in the States. It has had little practical effect if any on the image licensing industry. Please see www.museumscopyright.org.uk/bridge.htm for further details.

The judge in the Bridgeman case reached the only reasonable decision he could given the facts by Bridgeman's lawyer. It has been said that, had a different lawyer presented the facts in another way, the outcome could have well been different. For example, Bridgeman's lawyer did not even cite Graves' Case (1869, LR 4 QB 715), which held that a photograph of an engraving of a painting was an "original photograph" and therefore protected under the 1862 Fine Art Copyright Act.

Comparative examples can help explain matters. Consider Beethoven's Fifth Symphony. There is no copyright in this work because of its age. However, if you were to assemble an orchestra, diligently arrange, conduct and record a performance of the piece, you would expect your recording to be protected in some way against 'theft'. And indeed that exact sound recording would be protected and the copyright holder would be the producer.

Likewise, if you compiled a brand-new Complete Works of Shakespeare (again, out-of-copyright), the typographical arrangement of your particular edition (i.e. the way the text was laid out) would be protected against people making cheap pirate copies.


We would be more than happy to meet with a representative from Wikipedia, should they want to visit the Gallery. It would be good to coincide this with a meeting of the Museums Copyright Group, which from next year, will meet quarterly. If you are interested in this, please let me know and I will speak to our Copyright Officer, Bernard Horrocks.

The NPG does not currently permit photography in the Gallery. This is partly for conservation reasons, but there are other issues we have to bear in mind. For example, there are many portraits in our collection that we do not hold the copyright for. Also, a snapshot of a portrait in a frame, behind glass, in gallery lighting, is going to be of poor quality compared to the copies we can supply. Our photographs are taken by specialist photographers, of the portraits out of their frames, under studio lighting. We have extremely strict quality control procedures, and as we re-photograph a work each time it is conserved, we can be sure that we are the only people able to supply good quality, up-to-date copies of the works in our collection.

Up until now, we have been offering Wikipedia authors our standard domestic website licence fee of 18.00 pounds per image. However, we are aware that the vast majority of authors do not contact us in the first place and those that do are not usually willing to pay the fee. Given that there seem to be a number of NPG images already on Wikipedia, and many of those are of dubious quality and unknown origin, we can see that it is necessary to find a satisfactory solution. It is obviously in both our interests to have good quality images, displayed on the site with authoritative caption and copyright information.

So, our proposal is to allow Wikipedia to use the images available on our site (www.npg.org.uk), providing there is a direct link from the image displayed on Wikipedia to the page it appears on in the NPG website. For example, I have included a link, below, to the Mary Wollstonecraft image:

http://www.npg.org.uk/live/search/portrait.asp?search=ss&sText=Mary+Wollstonecraft&LinkID=mp01807&rNo=0&role=sit

You can use this image on Wikipedia, and anyone clicking on it will then be taken to the NPG site where they will have access to other images of Mary Wollstonecraft. Our site also provides accurate caption and copyright information. As we constantly up-date our photography, users can also be sure they are seeing the most up-to-date images.

We would not charge licence fees for this, and we would offer the same terms to any Wikipedia authors that contact us. However, this is dependent on the link to our site being included, and on Wikipedia displaying correct copyright information (as listed earler in this message). It would also be essential that the image was not "offered" free-of-charge to anyone wishing to use it (under a GNUDFL, Copyleft or similar licence), and that anyone wanting a copy be directed to the NPG website.

It is also important to remember that not all of the images on our website are NPG copyright. Some artists give us permission to display copies of their work on the NPG site, but might not be happy for the image to appear on Wikipedia. It would therefore be essential to check the status of images with us, before uploading them to Wikipedia.

I hope that you can see the benefits of this proposal, and look forward to hearing from you in due course.

Regards,

Matthew


Matthew Bailey
Assistant Picture Library Manager
National Portrait Gallery St Martin's Place London WC2H OHE


An excerpt from my reply:

Subject: RE: image copyright complaint
Date: Thu, 26 Oct 2006 11:12:33 -0500
From: Ryan Kaldari
To: Matthew Bailey
Cc: Bernard Horrocks, Tom Morgan

[Discussion of Bridgeman v Corel and legal issues...]

Regarding the licensing for Wikipedia, I think your offer is quite generous and I greatly appreciate your extension of it. However, I'm afraid there is one condition we cannot agree to. Any image used on WIkipedia must either be public domain or licensed under a free licence. Unfortunately, we cannot use images licensed exclusively for Wikipedia. The reasoning behind this is that all Wikipedia content is free to reuse, even for commercial purposes. Thus I'm afraid we could not agree to license any images from NPG unless we were able to license them under the GFDL or a Creative Commons license. There are Creative Commons licenses which require attribution, thus we could require that a link to the NPG be associated with the images, if such a license were agreed to.

If a free license is not acceptable and it is not possible for a representative from Wikipedia to take new photographs of the portraits I'm afriad that puts us back at square one.

[Discussion of Wikipedia policies and precedents...]

Sincerely,
Ryan Kaldari


Their reply:

Subject: RE: image copyright complaint
Date: Tue, 31 Oct 2006 17:33:15 -0000
From: Matthew Bailey
To: Ryan Kaldari
Cc: Bernard Horrocks, Tom Morgan

Hello Ryan,

I'm sorry I have not replied sooner, but we are undergoing some major system changes at the moment, and it's pretty hectic. I doubt we can provide images for use under the terms required by Wikipedia, but I will have a chat with Tom and Bernard once things have quietened down a bit, and we will get back to you then.

Regards,

Matthew


That was the last I heard from them.